Putting on a “Road to Takedown” showcase event on the same night that the Kerrang! tour made a stop over the road at the sold-out Guildhall appeared like a pointless exercise on paper, and the meagre attendance seemed to only go and justify that case. It could have been argued that this event was a mere consolation prize for those who did not manage to get tickets for Limp Bizkit and co; however, as the night drew on, the purpose of this event became far more clear.
First up for the showcase were 6 Minutes to Sunrise; leaning intensely on the more mature side of the pop-punk spectrum, the band were far more redolent of mid-2000s rock acts like Feeder, Ash and Idlewild than their genre tag would lead many to believe. Their musical performance was impassioned and solid however they were sorely let down by lead singer Cameron Davidson’s delusions of grandeur. Whilst hyping up a small and apathetic audience can occasionally pay off, consistently asking the 15-strong audience if they were ready for a song that they had never heard before in their life crossed all boundaries of ego and instead felt downright bewildering; as if Davidson was reading from a rockstar handbook like it was a poorly thought out translation dictionary. In short, their set was a display of harmless enough power pop, but their performance lacked the charisma or hooks to be anything more.
Following their set was the four-piece Western Sand who despite making the sort of rudimentary, cookie-cutter hard rock that you can imagine being used as incidental music in an episode of Man v. Food, performed so tightly and so energetically that you couldn’t help but enjoy yourself (even if it was against your better judgement). By the end of their set they had gained a multitude of headbangers and most certainly a few fans.
Whilst next act Dendera suffered the same fate of being so derivative that it landed firmly in the realm of the parodical. Their aping of Iron Maiden was so devoid of creativity and charm that it was impossible to even register, let alone take seriously. Whilst their Maiden imitations were well performed, the total lack of originality lead to universal shrugs.
However, as soon as Nottingham four-piece Baby Godzilla came to the stage, the atmosphere changed dramatically. Freed from the reins of the academy-sized venues that they have been playing on the Kerrang! tour, the ball of unstoppable chaotic energy that is Baby Godzilla was once again let loose. Plunging in to the crowd from the opening moment of their performance, the audience instantly requited this frenetic mayhem, screaming along as if their mouths were brimmed with joyous hornets. It did not take long to gather that this wasn’t really a “Road to Takedown” showcase, this was a Baby Godzilla gig.
The show reached its height of exuberance with fan-favourite ‘Powerboat Disaster‘; the small but now devoted crowd circling the guitar cab strewn on the floor whilst guitarists Matt and Jonny passed their microphones around to fans for the song’s macabre, nautical-themed refrain. ‘It’s good being us again’ quipped Matt, and damn right it was.
The performance’s finale was spoiled by security, whose confusion at what was happening in front of their eyes lead them to jump in and halt the crowd’s ecstatic but harmless pits. This lead to fury from the band, with Jonny violently splitting his guitar in to two at the conclusion of the set; however as the audience applauded and entered in to another impromptu refrain of ‘Powerboat Disaster’, it was certain that the excitement for Baby Godzilla could not be hindered or tamed.
As the hordes from Limp Bizkit entered fifteen minutes later for the afterparty, they had no idea what they had just missed.